Before the start of spring practice, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn had hoped that the quarterback issue would be settled and a No. 1 at the position would emerge at some point during the spring.
Exiting the spring with the playing of the A-Day game and just one practice session remaining Monday, the defending national champs are no closer to having an answer as to who will replace Heisman winner Cam Newton. In fact, there may be more questions now than there were back in March.
Continuing a trend that’s been one of the themes woven into the spring, both Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley, the two main combatants for the starting job, sprinkled in a handful of big plays amidst what was mostly uneven play during a spring game dominated by the defense and new faces. And, suffice to say, neither player grabbed the job by the throat as Chizik intimated it will be August before a starter is named.
“Until we know who gives us the best chance to win and it’s 110 percent, we won’t make the call,” Chizik said. “The first year we were here we didn’t make the call. Last year, we did it a week after. It’s just like any other position, when we’re 110 percent certain sure we’ll do that.”
While Chizik said he’s fine with the fact that a starter hasn’t emerged, he lamented the inconsistency that’s plagued both players this spring.
“Very similar in nature,” head coach Gene Chizik said when asked about the two players currently vying to become the starter. “The thing that stands out the most after 14 practices is the inconsistency of both of them. We’re trying to find somebody who can manage the game and manage the team.
“There were some open balls we had today that we missed.”
In other words, get ready for your closeup, Kiehl Frazier.
Frazier, the No. 5 dual-threat QB in the country this year, will join the competition this summer and, according to some who would know, appears poised to make a serious run at the job. Based on the reports coming out of The Plains throughout the spring, such a situation would appear to be more than a mere pipe dream or wishful thinking.
It wasn’t all gloom and doom for the Tigers, however. The defense has reportedly been a bright spot this spring — although that could be a byproduct of the offense’s struggles — and that trend continued Saturday. Additionally, stud running back Michael Dyer (in very limited action) and several other key returnees made it through the game without the need for an MRI and/or an X-ray. The latter was a point noted by the head coach in his postgame assessment of the program’s current status.
“Overall, we got out the game healthy,” Chizik said.
Based on the massive amount of turnover and roster upheaval facing AU this offseason, the importance of the health factor cannot be understated. And neither can the fact that the Tigers need someone, anyone, to grab the reins of the offense and take over sooner rather than later.